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Thread: Copper Polishing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Pearl River, NY
    Posts
    2

    Copper Polishing

    I have a few copper clad tanks that are EXTREMELY tarnished. Whats the best polish out there for a quick shine? I've used an acid wash, and then tried buffing the tanks with cloth, but it goes back to green almost immediately. Any tricks I might be missing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    205
    Wright's Brass Polish

    It will take time, but will polish up. The polish will cake up in crevases and trim, but you can work that out with a toothbrush. These tanks will tarnish back up in about a week unless they are varnished or polished with some sort of oil.
    Todd G Hicks
    BeerDenizen Brewing Services

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    586

    Product

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    I have a few copper clad tanks that are EXTREMELY tarnished. Whats the best polish out there for a quick shine? I've used an acid wash, and then tried buffing the tanks with cloth, but it goes back to green almost immediately. Any tricks I might be missing?
    What you need is something called " Flitz." It leaves a barrier on the surface and it works.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,967
    A good preservative wax will do wonders. My favorite is Renaissance wax. It ain't cheap, but it goes a long way.

    My go-to polish is Mother's Mag and Aluminum Wheel polish. Find it in the automotive dept. of your hardware store. I restore old Coleman lanterns and guns and this stuff just works, It also has some kind of wax in it, but it needs more. Used with 4-0 steel wool, it does an amazing job.

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    Just sayin'. Those looked more like charcoal briquettes when I started.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,930
    Looking at those brings back memories of all the lighting and cooking kit in my scout group being kerosene fired - just loved the hissing - I found the noise strangely relaxing. The lamps never looked as good as those though. All gas (or battery) now - the safety elves struck.

    Cheers

    Oh yes - yeast and conc. sulphuric acid (!!) for cleaning - varnish afterwards if you don't want to reclean every week. I like the idea of using high temperature waxes instead though.
    dick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    586

    Excellent

    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    A good preservative wax will do wonders. My favorite is Renaissance wax. It ain't cheap, but it goes a long way.

    My go-to polish is Mother's Mag and Aluminum Wheel polish. Find it in the automotive dept. of your hardware store. I restore old Coleman lanterns and guns and this stuff just works, It also has some kind of wax in it, but it needs more. Used with 4-0 steel wool, it does an amazing job.

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    Just sayin'. Those looked more like charcoal briquettes when I started.
    Excellent Timm.
    Its interesting that Renaissance wax is Engineered from Petrol and Polymer components.
    The Flitz does contain some kind of wax, but I have not looked into the formula further.
    I am sure it may be augmented with this product.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,967
    I should add that the reason I prefer a preservative wax to a clear-coat is that a clear-coat will fail in places, looking really ratty and requiring stripping the entire clear-coat off to refinish, whereas a wax will very gradually fail over time, but evenly, and is easily removed to refinish.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    586

    10-4

    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    I should add that the reason I prefer a preservative wax to a clear-coat is that a clear-coat will fail in places, looking really ratty and requiring stripping the entire clear-coat off to refinish, whereas a wax will very gradually fail over time, but evenly, and is easily removed to refinish.
    Totally agree. I would never use clear coat for this duty.
    Wax can be reapplied as neeeded with no fuss.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    828
    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    Oh yes - yeast and conc. sulphuric acid (!!) for cleaning - varnish afterwards if you don't want to reclean every week. I like the idea of using high temperature waxes instead though.
    Thanks Dick.

    What approx. ratio of yeast to sulfuric acid? A gallon of yeast with a 1/4 pint of sulfuric? Would Sulfamic work too replacing the Sulfuric, I wonder? The breakdown products thereof are ammonia (effective at cleaning copper) and sulfite (which in an aqueous solution would be Sulfuric acid). Don't know. Won't try it yet, but...

    Much lower pKa than Sulfuric. Solid at room temp. Easily dissolved in water. I must seek out an inorganic chemist now....

    Pax.

    Liam
    Liam McKenna
    www.yellowbellybrewery.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,967

    Copper finishes

    I have to replace a couple of nipples on one of our washdown hose bibs today, so decided to do a little experiment.

    I made up the nipples from copper with soldered fitting. I then washed them in lye in our ultrasonic parts washer, rinsed, then another wash in dilute phos acid, again in the parts washer. This is an excellent cleaning regime for copper, brass, and nickel-plate. I then "polished" them with maroon ScotchBrite pads--not a fine polish, but mostly what we use around the brewery. I rinsed both with denatured alcohol to remove any metal dust and finger oils.

    I treated the one on the right with my Renaissance preservative wax; the one on the left got two coats of Rustoleum Clear Engine Enamel 500F. I cured the clear-coat at 225F for one hour.

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    Not the best test, as one will be on the hot side and one on the cold. I'll put the clear-coated one on the hot (185F) side, and check back occasionally to see how the two different finishes perform.
    Last edited by TGTimm; 10-16-2019 at 10:38 AM.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

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